Who knew that when designer Riccardo Tisci was named Chief Creative Officer of Burberry a few months ago that the brand would be completely re-imagined?
Even if I had entertained that thought in my head for a while, because Tisci is known for shock factor, I never could have imagined what went down at London Fashion Week. But before I get into that, I need to tell you about the changes Burberry has made in the past year. Get comfortable, sweetie, because 2018 has been eventful for this particular luxury brand.
In March this year, Riccardo Tisci was announced as chief creative officer Christopher Bailey’s successor. This might not sound major, but the contrast between Bailey’s loyally British style and Tisci’s not-so-conforming vision guaranteed that the brand is going in a new direction. Bailey took his last bow in London Fashion Week in February after 17 years of working with Burberry.
Now fast forward to June: The luxury label hit its biggest bump in the road (of 2018) when it was fiercely criticized for burning tens of millions of dollars’ worth of unsold products. This has been common practice by many fashion labels to “maintain” their prestige and brand value (*insert eye-roll here*). I’ve always loved and supported the art of fashion, but literally nothing is worth textile waste reaching over 35 billion pounds in 2019 (that’s 158,757,329,50 kilos). I mean, can you just imagine the environmental damage? Your cute outfit ain’t worth it, boo.
Come August 2018. Riccardo Tisci left his first mark on Burberry by changing both the logo (which hadn’t been changed in 20 years) and the monogram. The latter, which bears the brand founder’s initials, was co-designed by Tisci and British graphic designer Peter Saville in just four weeks.
So here’s a quick recap so far: Riccardo Tisci was appointed Chief Creative Officer in March, Burberry faced a PR disaster in June, and the logo and monogram changed in August.
Now we move on to September.
Burberry’s new CEO, Marco Gobetti, issued an apology and announced that not only is Burberry ending its torched goods policy immediately, it’s also going entirely fur free beginning with Riccardo Tisci’s first SS19 ready-to-wear collection that finally debuted in London Fashion Week a couple of days ago. It seemed that the label wasn’t only moving in a new creative direction, but a socially-responsible one at that.
This was especially important to me on a personal level, because I had always been against the use of real animal skin for any reason, let alone fashion (I literally stopped wearing my mom’s vintage Burberry cardigan and boycotted the label entirely when I found out it uses fur). A day after Burberry’s fur-free announcement, the British Fashion Council also announced that London Fashion Week in September 2018 will be the first of the major fashion weeks not to show any animal fur. This came after a survey carried by the Council revealed that no designer had plans to use fur in their show. YAASSS!!
Now that the recap is over, let’s talk about the runway show. Everyone, myself included, expected nothing short of bold statements and a whole lot of attitude, possibly personified by a model wearing eyeliner that reaches the back of her neck, or even a male model donning a dress. What came out instead was a myriad of beautiful beige tones, pleated skirts, smart blazers, and even ballerina buns. Tisci was keeping it authentically British, albeit without his predecessor’s Yorkshire touch.
And then, just as we were getting comfortable, the mood of the entire show transformed when models now came out in zippered-leather, metal-trimmed anoraks, accessories reminiscent of military uniform, and harsh makeup (think dramatic winged eyeliner). It was almost like walking on the beautiful cobbled streets of modern-day Paris and taking a turn to find yourself in 1980’s Brixton.
If anyone had earlier doubted Riccardo Tisci’s abilities to transform such an iconic label without losing its identity, I can happily tell you, while I sip my tea of self-righteous, I-knew-it attitude, that you were wrong and may take a seat.
In less than one year, and specifically after that one London Fashion Week show, which was celebrity-free for reasons I still don’t understand (hit me up if you do!), we saw the results of this beautiful marriage between Tisci’s artistic vision and Burberry’s identity: a new era. I personally can’t wait until December when I’ll get to see Riccardo Tisci’s collaboration with queen of design Vivienne Westwood come to life.
I’ll be wearing Mama’s Burberry cardigan.
Main Image Credits: Instagram @riccardotisci17